Better MMA fighters: boxers or pro wrestlers?
The answer to this question depends on whom you ask. Of the many boxing fans that read this blog, they would tell you boxers are far superior athletes and many would destroy MMA fighters and pro wrestlers.
However, if you look at the history of MMA, you'll see that there is a huge list of pro wrestlers competing in it. To name a few, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, Kazushi Sakuraba, Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley, Kazuyuki Fujita, Giant Silva, Bob Sapp and the list goes on and on.
The lists of boxers are: Eric “Butterbean” Esch (77 wins, 8 loses, 4 draws), Ray Mercer (36-7-1), Marcus Davis (17-1-2), Chris Lytle (13-1-1), Anderson Silva (1-1-0), Don Frye (1-1-0), Alessio Sakara (6-1-0), Jens Pulver (4-0-0), Melvin Guillard (0-1-1), Mark Hunt (0-1-1), Yves Edwards (2-0-0) and Patrick Cote (0-1-0). This list consists of fighters that boxed before they fought in MMA.
I’m not including the list of MMA fighters that went into pro wrestling after or during their MMA careers: guys such as Josh Barnett and Tank Abbott. I believe many of them went into pro wrestling at the time because there was very little money to be made in UFC. Also, not included on the list are MMA fighters who boxed after and during their MMA careers -- a guy such as Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who won a bronze medal in boxing in the 2007 Pan American Games, or Jorge Masvidal, who had one boxing match after a 6-1 record in MMA. Masvidal won a majority decision against a fighter with a 1-11-2 record.
When you look at the list of fighters you have two current champions, one from boxing in Anderson Silva and one from pro wrestling in Lesnar.
The pro wrestlers that are successful in MMA are guys that had collegiate wrestling backgrounds. Shamrock didn’t wrestle in college but he did train in catch wrestling (submission holds or hooks) before he fought in UFC. The only two that didn’t have a wrestling background were Sapp and Giant Silva, and both of them had disappointing MMA careers.
Many fans are discussing this matter because of the two latest additions to the MMA fighting world, professional boxer James Toney and ex-pro wrestler Batista. Some are wondering if either would make it in the octagon. I believe it’s really going to be hard for Batista because he doesn’t have a collegiate wrestling background and he’s not much of a brawler either. Batista got into a fistfight with another pro wrestler by the name of Booker T. in the locker room back in 2006. Those that witnessed the fight said Booker T got the best of the much bigger Batista. Booker T told TMZ.com that he doesn't think Batista can "match up" with some of the big boys in Strikeforce.
Toney and Mercer aren't the only former champions to want to fight in the octagon. Back in 2007, former world heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe was interested in training with Bas Rutten and trying his hand a MMA.
I think we can agree that an MMA fighter would have a difficult time boxing against a boxer in a ring, while a boxer would last a lot longer against a MMA fighter in the octagon. As for pro wrestlers, it depends on their previous background in collegiate wrestling. In pro wrestling they use some of the same moves as MMA fighters. They just don't have the force behind the strikes and moves.
What are your thoughts on who would make the better MMA fighter, boxers or pro wrestlers?
Boxing records are from http://boxrec.com.